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Shellie: George Zimmerman is an Angry Man

Aired September 11, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, breaking news: George Zimmerman`s estranged wife, Shellie, gives her side of what happened during that explosive confrontation with George. Is she now suggesting her estranged husband, who of course, is the man who shot unarmed teen Trayvon Martin dead, is an armed and dangerous man she`s afraid of? Kind of sounds that way.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live.

Zimmerman`s soon-to-be-ex stood next to her lawyer, and they laid out a case for why they believe George was wrong and way out of line during a confrontation the former Neighborhood Watch volunteer had Monday as they divided up their shared property in preparation for their divorce.


KELLY SIMS, SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN`S LAWYER: I get a call from Shellie. She`s like, "Oh my God, oh my God, George is here. He didn`t show up by himself. He didn`t show up and watch. He showed up with a 400-pound man and a girl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop! Stop where you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The smoking iPad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn around! Walk back to me!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will he face charges?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The iPad is in really bad shape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on your knees! Cross your feet!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shellie is saying that she walked around, videotaping George.

SIMS: Whenever it begins with a "Z," things start getting out of hand.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just moments ago Shellie Zimmerman`s attorney, Kelly Sims, spoke to the media, in his mind setting the record straight.

This comes on the heels of a detailed 14-page police report released today about that confrontation. Now, here`s what her attorney, Shellie`s attorney, had to say and it`s a humdinger. Listen and then we`ll debate.


SIMS: Shellie doesn`t want to press charges. Everything is calmed down. We can go our separate ways. We`re not going to talk about it anymore. She`s getting divorced. And the only thing that Shellie wants out of this ending of this relationship is for it to end with a whimper and not a bang. That`s what she wants. She does not want there to be this kind of drama. She doesn`t want it to be here. She doesn`t look happy. She`s not happy. Shellie Zimmerman wants this relationship to end with a whimper and not a bang.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What the heck does that imply? Does that imply that she`s afraid of a bang? That she`s afraid that George Zimmerman is dangerous?

Shellie says George threatened her and her dad with a gun before punching her dad in the nose. She says she used this now infamous iPad to record the confrontation, but then George smashed it over his knee and used a pocket knife to try to destroy it after he was hit with it in the back.

Shellie told a 911 operator George had a gun. George`s lawyer even said he had a gun. But police say nope, there was no gun, although they admit they failed to search his truck where his girlfriend, according to Shellie`s lawyer, said he had guns. Who knows?

I want to hear what you`ve got to say: 1-800 -- 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877- 586-7297.

We`ve got an incredible panel in the Lion`s Den tonight, including my dear friend, attorney Lisa Bloom, the author of a new book on the Trayvon Martin case called "What Went Wrong?" And we`re also going to talk later to a retired police captain, C.W. Jensen.

Listen, lions, this was a crazy rambling news conference. But the bottom-line point -- and I`ve got to ask Lisa Bloom about this -- is this lawyer suggesting with this comment she wants the relationship to end with a whimper, not a bang, that Shellie Zimmerman is in fear of George Zimmerman and considers him a man who was walking around packing heat and has also got an anger management problem?

LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Well that`s a very reasonable interpretation, Jane. I thought the same thing.

By the way, my book`s not out yet. It`s going to take a couple of months. But everybody can just look for it then.

And listen, this was a very strange press conference. Because the lawyer, frankly, went on and on about a lot of detail. We never heard from Shellie herself, which is fine. Most lawyers don`t want their clients to talk. But what is the bottom line?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Especially convicted perjurers.

BLOOM: Does Shellie take the position that he had a gun and that he was threatening her with it or not? And if so, why did she suddenly drop the charges?

Mark O`Mara has said he had a gun; he was carrying a gun. So all of this denial now about he didn`t have a gun is really irrelevant to me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: J. Wyndal Gordon. J. Wyndal Gordon, you heard it. Did you think she was essentially saying through her attorney that she`s terrified of this guy, wants to be on the other side of the planet from him because she`s scared of him?

J. WYNDAL GORDON, ATTORNEY: Absolutely. I think what she`s been through over the last couple of days has been horrendous.

She made these allegations about a gun. People are insinuating that she`s not telling the truth. However, Mr. Zimmerman`s lawyer even said he had a gun.

And why doesn`t the truck searched? That, again, that bothers me something terrible, because now he still has a gun. He posed a threat to her with this weapon, and they didn`t even bother to take it from him. So he`s still riding around with a gun in his car.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Richard Herman.


RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, Jane, I`m glad they wanted to go out with a whimper here, because this was a slam bam circus. The Kelly and Shellie Show today. It was ridiculous. If she really wants it to go away, why have the circus? Why bring up all the allegations? Go your own way and close the book on it.

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: It`s all about image. This is a fight...


GORDON: She has something to say. She`s a woman. She`s a victim.

HERMAN: She`s a convicted perjurer. She`s a convicted perjurer because she was protecting...

LEIBERMAN: Where the focus should be, frankly, is, is the fact of the matter is George Zimmerman destroyed probably the only piece of third party independent evidence in this case that...

BLOOM: After he was hit with it.

LEIBERMAN: Let me finish. Let me finish.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let Jon finish. We want you to finish.

LEIBERMAN: The reality is that we may never know exactly what happened here because this iPad is destroyed.

GORDON: Who cares? Who cares?

LEIBERMAN: Well, who cares because what if there was -- I`ll tell you who cares. Because what if one party did abuse another party? Then there should be...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you why we care. Let me tell you -- One second, one second. Let me tell you why we care. Because if somebody has an anger management problem, and they`re walking around with a gun and they`ve already shot one person dead, and they`ve had a history -- remember, eight years ago his ex-finance sought a restraining order against him because of an altercation. He, in turn, wanted one against her. But there`s a pattern here.

He also got into a fracas that same year, many years ago, 2005, with police because they were trying to arrest his buddy for underage drinking purportedly. This is not coming out of the blue.

Shellie`s attorney made the case that it was perfectly natural for her to assume that George Zimmerman was carrying a gun. The attorney said, "Hey, he always carries a gun" and that his gestures indicated to her that he had a gun on him. And indeed there was a bag with a piece of paper in it in the house that showed he had just, according to them, purchased a new holster.

Listen to this, and we`ll debate it on the other side.


SIMS: She has objective evidence of what`s going on that day. She`s been filming, just like you guys are filming, and it would be no different than if you were filming and somebody ran out and busted every one of your cameras and said, "No, no, no, there`s nothing I didn`t want you to see. I just decided to bust your cameras because I`m an angry man."

That being said, Shellie used the shortcut. He`s got a gun, he keeps threatening us.

I`m going to tell you, if Clint Eastwood is playing a bad guy in a movie, and he`s resting his hand on the butt of his gun and he says, "Are you feeling lucky, punk?" Does he have to pull the gun to make you scared, worried, upset, make you want to call, maybe, the police and say, "Please, get here. He got my dad in trouble. I don`t want some trouble"? He doesn`t have to pull it. You don`t even have to see it when Clint Eastwood says it, for God`s sake.

So Shellie had a valid reason why she believed that George was armed.

The Lake Mary Police Department, I believe, did what they needed to do. But they checked George five or ten or 15 minutes later. They didn`t check his car. Apparently, the young lady that was with him indicated, and you guys know better than me, because I haven`t seen the report, but apparently, she indicated that there had were guns in the car, that these guns simply -- they have licenses so it`s OK.

So, the bottom line is, Shellie had every reason to believe there was a gun and every reason to want the police there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to the Lion`s Den. The implication here, based on what she knows about George, was that she was right to think that he was packing heat.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And indeed...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... suggesting that he may have been packing heat because they never checked the truck. Go ahead, Dana Swickle.

DANA SWICKLE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We`re missing such a huge part in all of this. This was a circus. This was a circus where her lawyer wanted his 15 minutes of fame. He`s sitting here saying, "We don`t want to prosecute, but here you go. Let me hand you all of this evidence. Let me come out here and give testimony and a statement for a long period of time but, oh, Shellie doesn`t want to prosecute."

Did he bother to mention that she took the iPad, or whoever took the iPad, hit George Zimmerman first with the iPad. And then that`s when he took the iPad from her and then destroyed the iPad? There`s no mention of a gun here.

GORDON: George Zimmerman is always the victim. Don`t you get tired of...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You made your point. Let`s let J. Wyndal respond.

GORDON: People are always saying George Zimmerman is the victim. George Zimmerman punched her only protector in the face, her father.

HERMAN: How do you know? How do you know?

GORDON: I just saw -- What do you mean, how do I know? It`s in the news. What do you know?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He`s got a cut on his nose. He`s got a cut on his nose.

SWICKLE: How do we know -- how do we know he wasn`t...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let him finish.

GORDON: You can pretend like you don`t know, but at least the allegation and the injury is consistent with the allegation.


GORDON: Now if you want to play that game, go ahead and play the game. But for the rest of America, you can see he`s got -- he`s got an injury to his nose. So that`s his house. That`s her father`s house. He gets punched in the nose at his own house. He`s trying to defend his daughter, and George Zimmerman is just acting like a roving maniac.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, C.W. Jensen, you`re a retired police captain. Now, Richard Herman, one of our panel, said, "Well, why do we care?"

I`ll tell you why we care. When somebody is armed with a gun, and they`ve got a temper problem, and they`re in crisis, they`re going through a divorce, they`re spiraling, they can be dangerous. We`ve already shown that we`ve seen he`s a dangerous one. He was acquitted of murder, but he killed somebody dead. OK. That is a fact.

And so if he`s walking around with a gun and if his wife and her attorney are right that he`s dangerous, is there anything legally that can be done to deprive him of his license, sir?

C.W. JENSEN, RETIRED POLICE CAPTAIN: Well, you know, I`m not an expert on Florida law, but the bottom line is, you know, right now police officers across the country are going to domestic disturbance calls. I mean, this happens all the time.

I mean, I think George Zimmerman is an idiot. I think his idiot wife is probably the same. This, you know, becomes an issue because of the notoriety. But the bottom line is the police officers probably did exactly what they`re supposed to do. They took care of things, they calmed it down.

Did they have the right to search the car? Did they have a right to do this? Probably not. So, you know what? This is all...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait, wait. Please, panel...

BLOOM: Domestic violence is important.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to be back after this. We`re going to continue the debate. We`ve got more sound from this news conference that just ended a moment ago. Wow, she wants the marriage to end with a whimper, not a bang. Wow. Stay right there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop! Stop where you are!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get him back out there!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. All right. Turn around! Walk back to me! Keep coming! Keep coming! Keep coming! Put your hands up!




SIMS: Shellie just didn`t want to be in the middle of this. She didn`t want to be a victim; she didn`t want her dad to be a victim. She didn`t want to see her dad arrested. She didn`t even want to see the man she lived with for six and a half -- married six and a half or seven years to be arrested.

Things have calmed down. These folks need to be on opposite sides of the country, the world if it`s possible. And that`s what she wanted.

So her not going forward was after she and I talked. Before she ever talked to the police, she and I talked. What is it that you want? Her dad has no interest in it. My understanding is Mr. Zimmerman has -- Mr. Zimmerman has no interest in going forward. And she doesn`t, even now, even though all this hassle and all the things that are being said about her throughout the world.

We just want to get through this divorce. It really shouldn`t take that long. They don`t have anything.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This was a rambling news conference that went on for about 40 minutes. And every time Shellie seemed about to open her mouth, he would jump in and say, "She`s not talking." And then ultimately she agreed, "I`m not ready." But I got the feeling she really did want to talk. And that -- you know, this was a chance for national attention for this attorney. And he was taking it -- he took that ball and ran with it.

David, New Hampshire, your question or thought? David, New Hampshire?

CALLER: What I`d like to comment is that, you know, every dog has his day. And -- and he`s just -- he`s taking a lot of risky chances. And he got caught in Texas, and he told the state trooper that he had a gun in his -- in his glove box. That he just now got picked up in Florida for -- for this incident. He -- you know, they -- they should have convicted him a long time ago.

And -- and I don`t think that his wife plays any innocent spot. She can look as pretty as she wants and put all the makeup on her face that she needs to feel (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to try to convince someone, OK, but she`s in it just as thick as he is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I know what you`re saying, David, because I always like that old saw, water finds its own level. And when each part of a couple is pointing at the other, saying they`re the bad person, generally water finds its own level.

I want to go to Lisa Bloom, though. There is a very serious pattern here. And I`m not just talking about what happened eight years ago. I`m talking about since he was acquitted. OK. He gets pulled over twice for speeding. He goes and visits a gun manufacturer that manufactured the same type of gun that he used to shoot Trayvon Martin, which even his own attorney said was insensitive at best.

And then there`s that purported rescue where he supposedly rushes to save people who were in a car that flipped over. I mean, I`ve been on this earth more years than I`d care to mention, and I haven`t had to rescue anybody from a flipped-over car. It`s too much to be coincidence. Now this.

BLOOM: There`s a lot of drama. I agree with that, Jane. And I agree that there`s a pattern. You know what bothers me about what`s been happening today and this week?

The idea that Shellie Zimmerman called distraught to 911, said that her father had been punched in the face, that he`d been threatening them with a gun and that he destroyed a piece of her personal property that had video on it, and then immediately the attorneys go to scene and say, "Oh, shhh! Everybody just calm down and don`t press charges and call the police right away."

And now everybody`s treating this as though, you know what? In a divorce people say things. And I think the subtext is women make false allegations about domestic violence.

HERMAN: They do.

BLOOM: Domestic violence may be common...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who said they do?

BLOOM: It may be common, but it was very serious. And it`s not something to be hushed up and smoothed over and tell people to withdraw their allegations. That`s what bothers me about this story.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Let Richard Herman speak for a second. Go ahead.

HERMAN: Expect when you`re a convicted perjurer and you state over and over again on the phone, "He`s got a gun. I see the gun. He`s going to shoot us" and then she recants, "Well, I didn`t really see a gun." You can`t believe...

BLOOM: He did have a gun.

HERMAN: ... anything this woman says. The most -- that`s not what she said. She said she saw it, and then she recanted that. But the problem here is she got most agitated on the tape, if you listen to it, when she said, "He`s got a woman in the car. There`s a woman." That`s what this is about.

GORDON: You think that`s only what this is about, a woman?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to give everybody a chance to speak one at a time. Go ahead, J. Wyndal.

GORDON: You can`t be serious when you say this is about a woman.

SWICKLE: You would be surprised.

GORDON: This is really about domestic violence.

HERMAN: No, it`s not.

GORDON: This is about a man who is a child killer, who punches an elderly gentleman.

HERMAN: He was acquitted.

GORDON: ... with a gun with a woman. That`s what this is about. This is -- the other woman had little if anything to do with it. I assure you, it had shock value.


SWICKLE: Jane -- Jane, I do family law also, as well as criminal defense, and let me tell you, this is an everyday occurrence.

JENSEN: Right.

SWICKLE: Every single day allegations of domestic violence, people fighting over property. I mean, really, people fight over dogs, pets, I mean, the silliest things, even dishes. And the problem is that...

BLOOM: Does that make it OK?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, fighting over companion animals is not a silly thing, and in fact, these two are in dispute over who`s going to have their two dogs.

Look, here`s the difference, Dana. Not everybody -- wait a second. Not everybody who`s involved in these domestic disputes is packing heat and has a history of, A, walking around with a gun...

SWICKLE: But Jane -- but Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... and, B, even though he was acquitted, shooting someone dead.

And I want to ask Jon Leiberman. I get the sense that she became more afraid of him after he shot Trayvon Martin. In other words...

LEIBERMAN: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... that the impact of that shooting -- maybe he was acquitted legally, but that his wife became afraid of him.

SWICKLE: But she stood by him.

LEIBERMAN: Look, this marriage was on the rocks, we now know, prior to Trayvon Martin. They were already in counseling to try and figure out whether they were going to stay together prior to Trayvon Martin, and then the horrific incident with Trayvon happens. And so of course she`s scared after that.

And, you know, I think today in this press conference was about trying to sway public opinion back to Shellie`s side. Because when it came out that he wasn`t brandishing a gun, I think that Shellie`s camp got worried that somehow people would think that she really wasn`t threatened, even though I think we can all agree in that moment she felt threatened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I maintain -- I maintain that, because they didn`t search the truck, we still don`t know for sure whether or not a gun was involved, because he may have had a gun that he didn`t brandish. She may have correctly assumed he had a gun. And he may have put it in his glove compartment. I don`t know. But since they didn`t search the truck and -- or the glove compartment of his truck, how do we know?

More on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On your knees! Cross your feet!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a domestic issue happening at the residence.

S. ZIMMERMAN: He continually has his hand on his gun, and he keeps saying step closer. And he was threatening all of us with his firearm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Step closer or what.

SIMS: She was being threatened with a handgun.

S. ZIMMERMAN: He`s going to shoot us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep coming. Keep coming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She stood by her man like Tammy Wynette says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anytime you have a divorce, emotions are going to run high. In this case, obviously that`s what was happening in this case.

S. ZIMMERMAN: There`s a woman in there. Oh, my God.





S. ZIMMERMAN: Someone`s in there?


S. ZIMMERMAN: There`s this woman in there. Oh my God.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently, she was most shocked by a mystery blond who was with George Zimmerman.

There is the key evidence, the busted iPad. And the cops said today, "We can`t get the video that would show what really happened, because Shellie was recording on it" out of that iPad. And they say they`ll keep trying.

You know, C.W. Jensen, retired police captain, why don`t they just take it to the Apple store? That`s what I do when I can`t get my iPad to work.

JENSEN: You know, Jane, I`m telling you, if I lived in, I`m sure, beautiful Lake Mary or Mary Lake, or wherever this is, I would not want my police department to do everything humanly possible to find this video.

This is a simple family beef. We do it all the time. It`s George Zimmerman, so I understand they have to make this a big deal, but this is two angry people that just need to move on...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not necessarily, sir. Because let me say this. Let me say this. He has a gun. He just bought a new holster, according to a piece of paper in a bag that was in the house, according to at least Shellie. He has a history of shooting one person. He was acquitted of murder. But he certainly wasn`t acquitted in a court of public opinion of bad judgment. I think he was convicted of bad judgment.

And I think it -- I think it could be a scary situation if he`s having a meltdown. If he`s losing friends, he`s losing his wife, he can`t get a job. Go ahead.

JENSEN: ... too and I`ve been divorced three times. I mean, you know, I mean, it is what it is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re not George Zimmerman. You also are not a Neighborhood Watch volunteer who shot an unarmed teen.

JENSEN: I agree.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to the phone lines.

JENSEN: I agree.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Joyce, D.C., your question or thought. Joyce, D.C., take it.

CALLER: Hello, how are you, Jane? I watch every day.

I just wanted to make two quick points. If anybody heard that phone call, that 911 call, Shellie was petrified. You can say what you want. And she did not know about the woman until the end of the call.

And secondly, if George Zimmerman kills someone, the family should sue the pants off the state of Florida. How many get out of jail free cards does this guy get?


CALLER: You know what I`m saying in Florida. George Zimmerman free. Next he`s coming to your neighborhood to follow your children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Lisa Bloom, this caller raises an excellent point. If something horrible does happen and he`s responsible, could the person who hopefully -- I mean, I don`t want to even speculate about that. But we`re dealing with a very volatile situation not just because we have a man who may have an anger management problem, maybe not, but certainly, that`s what his ex-wife is suggesting, who`s also armed.

BLOOM: Well, I agree with the caller that the state of Florida bungled the Trayvon Martin trial, and that`s what I`m currently writing a book about.

And I disagree with, I guess, most of the panel who seems to think that domestic violence is no big deal, people get angry, just forget about it. Domestic violence is a very serious thing even if it`s not George Zimmerman. Even if she`s wrong about the gun.

If he actually punched her father in the face or threatened him and destroyed a piece of her property, that is serious, because domestic violence perpetrators tend to escalate. There is no excuse for domestic violence. And it`s not something to be minimized.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And listen, speaking of domestic violence, on the other side, we`ve got an extraordinary story of a newlywed accused of pushing her husband of eight days off a cliff. I`m serious. Stay right there.


S. ZIMMERMAN (via phone): He punched my dad in the nose. My dad has a mark on his face. I saw his glasses were on the floor. He accosted my father.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does your father need medical?

S. ZIMMERMAN: Dad, do you need medical? He says -- he says no, but I think he does. He does need medical. He`s shaking. He says said he feels like he`s going to be a heart attack. Yes, you do because your nose looks like it`s all -- it could be broken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire department was asked to come in and take a look at Shellie`s father, but he didn`t have any injuries, and he was not treated here on scene.

Were punches thrown, were they not thrown? Who`s to say?




SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN, WIFE OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: He punched my dad in the nose. My dad has a mark on his face. I saw his glasses were on the floor. He accosted my father.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does your father need medical?

ZIMMERMAN: Dad, do you need medical? He says no but I think he does. He does need medical. He`s shaken. He says he feels like he`s going to have a heart attack. His nose -- yes, you do because your nose looks like it could be broken.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire department was asked 0 to come in and take a look at Shellie`s father but he didn`t have any injuries and he was not treated here on scene.

Were punches thrown, were they not thrown? Who`s to say?



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight a young bride accused of the unthinkable, accused of shoving her brand new husband off of a cliff to his death eight short days after their wedding. The honeymoon is definitely over.

I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live again. What in the world would drive a young woman to murder her brand-new husband and then spin an elaborate web of lies to cover her tracks?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One week after this beaming couple`s wedding, a chilling scene as prosecutors say Jordan Linn Graham pushed her new husband, Cody Lee Johnson, off this cliff in the high mountains of Montana. Police say the bride then told multiple lies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was very closed off, very quiet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Days later she led park rangers to an area of the cliff where she happened to find her husband`s body. And the park ranger said it was unusual she had found Johnson. Graham replied it was the place he wanted to see before he died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was always a joy to have around.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: 25-year-old Cody Johnson, the groom was reported missing July 8th when he didn`t show up for work. Three days later his body is found in Montana Glacier National Park at the bottom of a cliff, a big cliff. The spot so rugged and steep, a helicopter had to retrieve Cody`s body. After days of lies and deceit his bride Jordan fessed up. She told police that during a nighttime hike she and Cody argued. She claims he grabbed her arm and then she responded by pushing him in the back causing him to plunge over a very steep cliff to his death.

Cody`s friend and groomsman at their wedding said he warned him, he warned the groom not to marry Jordan. Listen to what this friend said about the couple`s wedding ceremony.


CAMERON FREDRICKSON, FRIEND OF CODY LEE JOHNSON: I was standing up there and I noticed that when they were exchanging their vows Jordan never once looked at Cody.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bizarre and terrifying. What do you think? Was this premeditated or was it just a response when he grabbed her arm purportedly allegedly. Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

I got to go straight out to Jon Leiberman, investigative reporter. You`ve been poring over the documents in this case. What do you know?

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Jane, I got to tell you, text messages broke this case wide open. I want to read you something. Police actually questioned a friend of the bride who told her that the bride recently informed her that she was having second thoughts about being married and that she needed to talk to somebody regarding the issue.

The same night that she is accused of pushing her groom, her new groom and killing him, she sends a text to the friend saying, quote, "Oh well, I`m about to talk to him." The friend texts back and says, "I`ll pray for you guys." She then texts back and says, "But dead serious, if you don`t hear from me at all again tonight, something happened."

This shows police -- found this friend -- this clearly shows a motive this that this woman didn`t want to get marry. She had second thoughts after she did indeed get married and then she wove this really crazy tale when police talked to her the first time that basically she got a text from her husband that he was getting into a car with a friend who was visiting out of town. She even gave a description of the car. And as we know, after she was questioned four additional times, she led police to the body essentially.

Look at this woman. She`s a nanny. This is not some hardened criminal. This is a woman who was a nanny. But everybody said she was very, very cold. In fact, at the funeral she was texting during the eulogy, if you can believe that. It`s a total jaw dropper. But witnesses saw her on a phone, oh, her husband of eight days is dead, she`s at the funeral, ok, she`s ultimately going to admit she pushed him off a cliff and she`s texting like this while they`re doing the eulogy? Are you kidding me?

Straight out to "The Lion`s Den" -- here`s my question for my panel and I think it`s very interesting one. And I`ll start with Dana Swickle. Was this, in your opinion, after listening to the evidence, premeditated murder where she lures this guy at night, all right, at night out to a national park and they decide to take a stroll along this steep cliff at night? Or was the truth what she ultimately told cops, that they had an argument and he grabbed her hand and then she responded by pushing back except that when she pushed him he went off a cliff?

DANA SWICKLE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well Jane, you know that I`m going to say the following thing. I don`t think she planned --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have no idea what you`re going to say, my dear.

SWICKLE: I don`t think she planned or plotted this or schemed this. You`re correct. She`s 22 years old. She`s a nanny. You know, I don`t think that there`s this mass, you know, like in her mind, "Let me bring him there so I can push him off a cliff."

I believe that she probably went there to talk to him, to tell him that she was changing her mind. I believe he might have gotten upset. I believe they argued. And if he did grab her, one can argue that she pushed him in self-defense and unfortunately he went over the cliff. I mean there is the possibility --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If only dear and antelope could speak. But guess what, you completely misinterpreted my analysis of this.


J. WYNDAL GORDON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I agree with the defense lawyer. I think it`s going to end up the same way. It`s either going to be a self-defense case or a manslaughter case. I do not see any first or second degree murder in this case when there was some type of physical touching between the two of them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m sorry --

LEIBERMAN: Well, she`s not charged with premeditated first. She`s not charged --

C.W. JENSEN, FORMER POLICE: She is with second degree, I believe.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Excuse me, maybe they should have charged her with premeditated first.

JENSEN: They did.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen. Richard Herman, you`re a criminal defense attorney but take a look at it from the other side. Who goes and walks around in the dead of night in a national park to have a relationship conversation? Ok. That makes no sense to me. Who then says, "Honey, let`s walk along this cliff while I tell you some bad news that I`m having doubts about my relationship." I mean --

GORDON: Well, we`re speculating as to whether or not the conversation went like that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: If you believe that, there`s a bridge I want you to buy and I don`t know exactly where it is but it`s not over water, Richard Herman.

RICHARD HERMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don`t believe that. That`s not a nice set of facts there Jane for a defense perspective. But you know, you have a push in the back which she admitted to. She pushed him in the back. Even though he touched her or grabbed her hand, he turned around. He looked like he was walking away and she pushed him in the back. I don`t know.

GORDON: But which direction was he facing when she pushed him in the back?

HERMAN: Exactly.

We don`t know. But look, it`s going to -- it`s probably going to come down to manslaughter. It`s hard to show here, Jane, that this was a premeditated -- she`s charged with second degree, malice aforethought. You have to prove that element -- specific intent to kill him. So I think it`s probably going to fall on manslaughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side of the break we`re going the talk about what his friends said. His friends warned him do not marry her, she`s strange, she`s cold, she`s distant, she`s unfriendly, she`s anti- social. This is what his friends warned him. But he was madly in love, ecstatic.

We`ll explain on the other side. This is wild.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI claims Graham admitted she and Johnson argued the night of July 7th and went to Glacier. Reports are that the argument got worse, that Graham tried to walk away but Johnson grabbed her arm. Then the FBI agent claimed Graham took his hand off her arm but was so angry she pushed him with both hands in the back and he fell face first off the cliff.




FREDRICKSON: I was standing up there and I noticed that when they were exchanging their vows Jordan never once looked at Cody.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Eight days after that wedding this woman right there, the bride, pushes that man right there, the groom, off a steep cliff to his death in a national park where they had gone late at night for a relationship talk. Something doesn`t pass the smell test.

Let`s go straight out to Kyung Lah, CNN correspondent who is in Missoula, Montana. You are right there in the national park. What do you know? Apparently there was a hearing today?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There was a hearing in this courthouse behind me, Jane. This hearing was a detention hearing and what they were trying to decide -- and the judge still has not made a decision. We`re expecting it before noon tomorrow. He is trying to decide if she should be released conditionally --


LAH: -- probably going home to her family or if she will stay behind bars. He hasn`t decided yet. He`s looking at the fact that she has no criminal history. That`s what her attorneys are arguing.

But what we are hearing from the friends and family, Jane, is that no, no, no, no -- she should not be released and they point to her odd behavior --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, yes, yes, yes -- she should not be released. I mean --

LAH: Well, that`s what they say. And the friends agree with you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- have I lost my mind? Have I lost my mind? We have more people behind bars in America than any other country in the world. Many of them are doing decades in prison for nonviolent offenses, drug offenses.

This woman admits she pushed her husband off a steep cliff to his death and they`re debating whether or not she should be allowed out because -- because why -- Kyung? Take it away again.

LAH: Because she has no criminal history. And her attorneys are arguing that, look, she doesn`t have a history of violence. Yes, there was this one incident. And I should add he wasn`t just pushed off the cliff. According to her she took her hands, she pushed him in the back, he fell forward face first. If you`ve ever been to Glacier National Park, that is one heck of a drop.

Something I do want to point out, Jane, is something that I kept hearing from friends about this woman`s odd behavior at her husband`s funeral. Listen to what one of them told me.


MAXIMINO ROCHA, VICTIM`S FRIEND: When I felt in my heart confident that something was not right and that something was not right with her was her state of mind, her emotional display was just casual. It was as we are talking right now about something and not even about Cody. We were just talking about the weather or we were just talking about local news.

There were people crying, there were people consoling each other and she was holding a conversation as if nothing was going on around her.


LAHE: And Jane, those friends say they point to that and they believe she thought it through. During that point she has had not been arrested. Police were suspicious but had not yet compiled the case -- Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she was having second thoughts, reportedly she told her friend. And there`s also word that she was not as into the marriage from the get-go as he was, that he was head over heels in love and she was kind of like -- is that a good summary -- Kyung?

LAH: That`s a very accurate summary -- Jane. I heard that from multiple friends. We`ve heard that from family members. Cody was deeply in love with this woman. He was head over heels. He was always trying to include her in his life. But Jordan, she wanted to stay aloof, to have some distance. And that`s why some of the friends really didn`t want him to get married but he insisted. Even the groomsman told me that he didn`t think that this was good ideas but you had to respect your friend`s wishes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom -- thank you for that excellent report, Kyung. Lisa Bloom, legal analyst for, here`s what disturbs me. It`s almost like we have a stereo type in our minds of what people who are in prison or kept behind bars should look like. And because she is a nice seemingly looking nanny, middle class -- oh well, you know, we can`t really keep her behind bars -- it offends me. There are people doing hard time who never pushed anybody off a cliff to their death. How dare they even debate whether or not she should be let out?

LISA BLOOM, LEGAL ANALYST, AVO.COM: Right. She has no history of violence other than this one thing, you know. "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?"


BLOOM: Other than admitting that she pushed him to his death and it is very odd behavior that makes her sound like a sociopath. She`s just very callous. She`s texting. She`s not behaving the way a grieving wife would behave. And keep in mind she`s told three different stories. Let`s not assume story number three is the truth.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I wish that beautiful animal could talk. We would have the truth, probably. What happened on that cliff? Was it premeditated or was it just a reaction during a spat between two newlyweds. More when we come right back.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to

Howie, Emmy, and Louis -- you are a triple threat of just fabulousness. And Ethel -- she says, "I`m going to hang my tongue out. Doesn`t mean I`m Miley Cyrus, but I`m hanging my tongue out because I want to." Sophie -- "I`m dignified and I`m elegant." And Lulu says, "Well I just like to hang out in my bed here. I`m just very down to earth, but I`m gorgeous."

All right, C.W., what you got? Oh, Brooklyn.

JENSEN: I got Brooklyn (inaudible).

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, how beautiful. What a beautiful, beautiful baby. Well, congrats. Congrats.



FREDRICKSON: When I first met Jordan, she was very closed off, very quiet. Not a lot of interaction with anyone.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. She`s anti-social. She had doubts about the marriage. She takes him to discuss their relationship in a dark place that had steep cliffs, and she also sent a friend a text the same day -- "Dead serious. If you don`t hear from me at all again tonight, something happened." After saying, "I`ll pray for you guys." But "Dead serious, if you don`t hear from me at all again tonight, something happened."

J. Wyndal Gordon, was she setting herself up possibly to claim, "Oh, I killed him in self-defense," which is sort of a cousin of what she actually claims.

GORDON: Well, I don`t think she went up to that cliff with the intent of killing him or even giving in to a fatal fray with her husband. I think things happened, perhaps accidentally -- I think they really happened accidentally, and that she responded, unreasonably, unreasonably and it resulted in his death. So, again --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m not so sure. I`m not so sure.

GORDON: -- there`s enough there for her trying to make out a self- defense claim, but I think the case is going to end in manslaughter.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dana Swickle, ten seconds. Ok, I`ll fill the time. You know, eight days after a wedding, a wedding bell you cannot unring, pushing your supposed loved one off a cliff, to his death. That`s nothing to be given a pass for.

Nancy, next.